sun 21/07/2024

Album: Laura Veirs - Found Light | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Laura Veirs - Found Light

Album: Laura Veirs - Found Light

The American singer-songwriter embraces self-determination

Laura Veirs's 'Found Light': evidence for a fresh outlook

The last minute of Found Light’s third track “Seaside Haiku” is defined by the repetition of a single phrase: “give but don’t give too much of yourself away.” Before this is the line “I’ve learned a lot from pain.”

Working out whether an album’s lyrics are a form of personal reportage or if they’re about imagined scenarios is always tricky. In this case Laura Veirs has said her 12th album is about what comes after divorce, so it feels safe to assume that “Seaside Haiku” is born from past events and describes an outlook generated by what’s been experienced.

Elsewhere on Found Light, other lyrics can be seen this way – “Sappho’s quiet inside my mouth” is especially memorable. As is “you crushed me, and those next to me who love me loved me.” Additionally, this is her first album without her former husband as its producer. Now, she has a co-producer of her own choice.The context and backstory matter. But only so far as Found Light is its own thing: when coming to it cold, nothing seems missing. What’s addressed by the lyrics is universal.

The music, playing and instrumentation do the business too. While it’s cheating to start at the end, head to the driving final track “Winter Windows” for proof. Veirs is pigeonholed as folk, yet its fuzz guitar and forward motion mark it as a form of garage rock. Earlier, “Eucalyptus” – with the “you crushed me” lyric – supports Veirs’s voice with pattering electronic percussion and throbbing guitar effects bringing to mind the “Ray of Light” Madonna.

However, around half the album sticks with the intimate, acoustic-bedded reflections Veirs is best-known for – though a Joni Mitchell-esque jazziness is new. The mix of what might be expected and different territory suggests Found Light is transitional; evidence for working out how to embrace a fresh outlook. Laura Veirs is opening up, going where the music takes her. Self-determination has arrived.


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